Cycling on the rise: a road map for your two-wheeled journey
There are more reasons to ride a bike than not to. Men's Health Philippines

CYCLING is on the rise, and it's time to get in the saddle. Whether you'll be bombing down a mountain or chewing up the asphalt, consider this your road map for your two-wheeled journey.

 

ON THE ROAD

“People live 10 kilometers [at most] away from their working place,” declares Benedict Camara, vice president of the Firefly Brigade, a bicycle advocacy group. It’s hard to disagree—after all, the distance from Marikina to Makati (which, neck-deep in rush hour, would take you an hour and a half to cover by car) is only 12 kilometers on a map. 

“An elite runner can run that distance,” Camara says. Taking this slightly longer bike route, “a cyclist can bike to Makati in 40 minutes, at a leisurely pace. A cyclist in a hurry can bike that in 20 to 25 minutes.”

 

1) J.P. Rizal Street exit to Amang Rodriguez Avenue, 250 meters

2) E. Amang Rodriguez Avenue to Ortigas Avenue, 3.3K

3) Ortigas Avenue to Meralco Avenue, 2.4KM meters

4) Meralco Avenue to Shaw Boulevard, 1.1K

5) Shaw Boulevard to F. Martinez Avenue, 1.1K

6) F. Martinez Avenue to Maysilo Circle, 1.7K

7) Maysilo Circle to Makati Avenue, 2.1K

 

DON’T BREAK THOSE BRAKES

Todd Downs, author of The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance and Repair, suggests cleaning the pads and disc with rubbing alcohol or a product for cleaning disc-brake parts. Regular cleaning is not necessary because everyday dirt and mud can actually improve braking performance.

 

MANILA’S MOST BICYCLE-FRIENDLY COMPANIES

For the Firefly Brigade’s Benedict Camara, three signs can mark you as a bike-friendly company: a strong biking culture (company officers bike or company bike rides are encouraged), bike parking and showers, and bike loans for employees. Here are his four picks for the most bike-friendly companies in the metro

Ortigas & Company (real estate) Spyder Philippines (eyewear) Government Service Insurance System (government agency) Philippine Seven Corporation/7-Eleven (convenience-store retail)

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WHY YOU GET ON A BIKE

What makes us ditch our cars for a round or two on the pedals? A newly published study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity examined the reasons

 

...BECAUSE IT’S WAY CHEAPER

People with lower income reported taking more active commuting trips than those who had more money to spare. With the rising gas prices, it’s more cost-effective to bike rather than drive to work. “If you’re in traffic in your car and it’s not moving, you’re literally wasting money,” Camara points out. “A bike saves your time and money, and gives you a workout.”

 

...BECAUSE THERE ARE BIKE LANES

A study of bicyclers in Oregon showed that the most cycling occurred in roads with clearly marked bicycle paths and lanes. Camara recommends avoiding major highways and sticking to side roads. It’s safer and faster, and “it really makes your bike ride more interesting.”

 

...BECAUSE YOUR OFFICE HAS A SHOWER

What do bikers look for at the end of their ride? A place to park their ride and a place to take a shower. At least two more “worksite supports” (like shower stalls, bike racks, dedicated parking slots, health-insurance bonuses, or financial incentives) meant more working adults hitting the streets on two wheels.

 

...BECAUSE YOU JUST SAW A TV AD FOR IT

A media campaign in Australia that ran for six weeks across billboards, newspaper ads, and TV stations was found to have a 4-percent increase in the number of people who actively commuted at least 30 minutes a day.

 

...BECAUSE THERE’S NO CAR PARKING

Research from Australia showed that perceived challenges in car parking led more people to maintain a 30-minute bike-to-work weekly schedule. Parking problems even prompted some respondents to start doing it, even if only for the day.

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THE GREAT HELMET DEBATE

Should cyclists really wear helmets? This is a debate that will never die. Plenty of confounding factors (like riding style) give evidence either way in many scientific studies

 

WHY YOU SHOULD

  • A systematic review in the US provided evidence that bikhead injury by 63 TO 88 percent.
  • A 2013 Australian study found that helmet use in collisions with motor vehicles reduced the risk of head injury by "to 74 percent.”

 

WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO

  • A 2006 British study revealed that mnmotorists drove more aggressively near bikers wearing helmets. 
  • A 2013 University of Toronto study showed that compulsory helmet laws in Canadian provinces had a minimal effect in cyclists' hospital admissions. 

 

EVERY MONTH

?        Wipe down your bike

?        Check for cracks and stress on the frame

?        Adjust stem bolts

?        Degrease the chains and cogs

?        Lubricate necessary parts (not the brake pads!)

Source: The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance and Repair by Todd Downs

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph